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The Courtyard ~ Social Distinctions

The night air is relaxing and refreshing as you walk out into the courtyard. The first thing you notice is a large ruin battling for supremacy of the sky. It is all that remains of the Main Hall from the original Chateau, destroyed long ago. As you walk along the path, you hear bits of varied conversations. Occasionally you are stopped and asked your opinion on different subjects. Some you answer, some you don't. It is easy to see that this is the social gathering spot in the Chateau for those who would spend their time in idle chat and gossip, not that it's encouraged behaviour.

~ Topics of Conversation ~

~ Summary of Etiquette ~
~ Tremere Stereotypes ~
~ Tremere Character ~
 

Ventrue's Etiquette Book:

INDEX

What is Etiquette?
The Etiquette of Status
The Etiquette of dealing with one's Elders
The Etiquette of dealing with one's Inferiors
The Etiquette of dealing with one's Peers
The Etiquette of the Hunt
 

ETIQUETTE

Think of etiquette, if you like, as the oil that greases the wheels of all interactions between individuals, groups and institutions. If you know the rules then you can play the game and at the end of 90 minutes it's balls in the back of the net that count... oh yes. And if there seem to be a lot of rules, it's because they are all inclusive, the proper etiquette will cover all aspects of your existence. In time you may become such a true master that you need never think 'what is the correct protocol for tying my shoelaces' but merely do it. For most of my readers this state of grace is something that can only be aspired to, and so, gentle reader, it is my pleasant task to guide you through the intricacies of the great game. Good luck and fair winds follow you!

THE ETIQUETTE OF STATUS

The protocols for speaking with other cainites will form a vital part of the rest of your existence, gentle reader, and it is important to remember that the main use of etiquette is to smooth all social interactions and remove needless antagonism, even when a full and frank exchange of views is to be held.

It should be no surprise that the correct protocols vary greatly with respective status. This means that it is vital to gain an idea of the relative status of another cainite as soon as possible when interacting with them. An important first step is clan. In most social interactions it is considered polite to state one's clan as part of any introduction. This will also encourage the other kindred to respond appropriately. Whilst it is important to observe the niceties with members of our own clan who appreciate such things, Brujah rabble and Gangrel outsiders do not require such delicacy. It has been said that this is a form of social stigmatism but I say 'Nay', it is simply a truth that many of these creatures feel uncomfortable within the bounds of civilized behaviour.

A careful attention to detail, such as the manner in which a cainite walks, how he dresses, whether he defers to his own elders, his manner of speech, will give an impression of the way in which he wishes to be addressed. Until you are certain of relative status, it is generally safest to humour this. The use of polite witticisms in conversation is usually frowned upon unless you are a master of the art (as I am myself), or have reason to believe that your conversational partner has a sense of humour. If this is the case, however, it is a certain way of relaxing the tone of an altercation. The use of irony, in particular, to soften the blow of a necessary reproof cannot be overestimated, provided that the other cainite is sufficiently aware to catch the intended meaning. It should -always- be possible to discuss matters of business or personal interest with other Ventrue without raising the temperature, and at the risk of generalizing, it may be said that many Toreador can also be relied upon to uphold a civilized level of conversation. In cases where mere conversation is not sufficient to settle the point, then I refer you, gentle reader, to following chapters.

ETIQUETTE FOR DEALING WITH ELDERS

Be in no doubt as to the wisdom of deferring to your own elders, by the certain fact of the status they hold, they are deserving of your consideration. It is also true that by using the correct protocols an elder will pay more attention to your opinions, at least in the first instance. When your elder enters a room, it is correct to stand as a token of regard, unless there are kine present in which case a simple nod is sufficient. Do not address your elder beyond a formal politeness unless he addresses you first, or has given you permission to speak. The correct forms of address could fill a vast tome, if you are not certain as to which is appropriate then you have to option of listening to how others address him, or simply asking and apologizing for your own ignorance in the matter.

It is always appropriate to apologize to one's elders for any real or imagined failing in your own etiquette. It implies that you are willing to accept their judgment and advice and create a good impression. So, it is always appropriate to turn up to any meeting approximately 5 minutes after the agreed time. This will give you something to apologize for immediately and will get the meeting off on the right foot. Never criticize your elder in public unless you are doing so specifically to draw another into the same trap, it will reflect badly upon your own status. It may also lead to more serious repercussions... When your elder makes a suggestion, it is appropriate to agree to it in principle, although unnecessary to speak at great length about the merits of the proposed plan. However, it is not a kindness to withhold your own reservations about any course of action. Make free use of apologies (see above) for your own short-sightedness and failings, and ask permission to speak your mind. An important consideration, gentle reader, is that even when your elder is wrong, he is right.

ETIQUETTE FOR DEALING WITH THOSE OF LOWER STATUS

When speaking with kindred who, either because of being younger in years or less fortunate in their breeding than yourself, remember at all times that merely by hearing them out, you are marking them as favored and improving their own status. Expect them to be grateful for this sign of favour and to show it in respect for your opinions and deferment to your superior judgment and experience.

Whilst their opinions may be shallow, narrow-minded or simply foolish, by encouraging lower status kindred to offer their thoughts, you are preparing the ground for the day when their thoughts may genuinely be worth something. So it is worth cultivating an air of attentiveness, nod from time to time, ask polite questions by rephrasing their last sentence while you are occupied with other thoughts. If indeed it is something that you may need to devote attention to, it may be advisable to ask the cainite to offer his opinions in writing so that you may give them the attention they deserve.

If, for any reason, you need to rebuke a lower status kindred be aware of whether the infringement was intended or simply due to ignorance. Not all kindred are fortunate enough to have as good a grasp on the social niceties as you do yourself, gentle reader. A lesson in etiquette from an elder is something which not all kindred will see as a gift and may need to be pointed out more forcefully. However, it should be possible to do this without resorting to a show of strength, in fact it is desirable to avoid a show of strength as this is generally considered to be poor etiquette.

ETIQUETTE OF DEALING WITH ONES PEERS

Deal with your peer with courtesy and all due politeness, gentle reader, and you will engender in him a respect for your own judgment that may be quite out of proportion to anything you actually have to communicate. Trust is a rare and valuable commodity indeed, and cannot be conveyed by mere politeness, but by engendering a reputation as one who can discuss even matters that bear against yourself in a true and courteous fashion, you will convey an impression of yourself as an honourable man or woman. The importance of impressions such as this cannot be overestimated.

THE ETIQUETTE OF THE HUNT

The reader will no doubt be familiar with a number of preferred methods for hunting and each cainite will tend to keep to his own usual hunting grounds and his own methods. A full discussion of the tradition of domain is not the subject of this text, but it is also considered polite to acknowledge another kindred if you should hunt in their preferred areas, whether they be 'public' or no. This as opposed to an area which may be held by an elder or favoured kindred as their own personal and private domain by gift from the Prince. In this latter case, the usual formalities for acknowledging domain take precedence. However, in the former case, in which a shared or public domain is your hunting ground, by choice or necessity, acknowledgement may be as simple as a shared glance or a nod. If it is the case that your preferred type of prey is similar to that of another Ventrue then you may wish to confer via small notes or agreed hand gestures as to which of you will approach a likely vessel. This is one of the few cases where is it permissible to confer with your elder on level terms. Openly competing with another cainite for the same vessel is poor form. It is appropriate to allow your competitor the victory and then require him to tender you another vessel in the future in exchange.

Hunting will usually be divided into three phases, scouting, luring and feeding and, gentle reader, you will need no reminder of the importance of maintaining the masquerade at all times. The scouting phase will involve the correct selection of locale and of a potential vessel. The luring will involve separating the vessel from the crowds and finding a secure and quiet place. The feeding phase will involve the kiss and any 'tidying up' necessary to maintain the masquerade.

For reasons of security and convenience, many of our clan will choose to maintain a herd. It is inappropriate to add to your herd kine with whom you have frequent business dealings, either through controlling them directly or indirectly. Whilst it is possible to have a short-term business relationship with a mortal, you will not wish to be encumbered with the same mortal as herd once their usefulness in other ways has been depleted. However, the addiction to the kiss which has been noted in some vessels can be a useful control mechanism and is one of the most common ways in which kindred bind their herds together. Do not think that your herd are mere kine and beneath your consideration. Whilst this may be true, they are -your- kine and it behoves a well-mannered kindred to keep an amiable eye out for their welfare. This courtesy has enabled many cainites in the past to gain a valuable pre-warning of possible dangers to themselves.

Members of your herd should of course remain largely ignorant of your true nature unless appropriate precautions have been taken. Be in no doubt that they will be happier in a state of ignorance (it will be a natural state for many of them). Monitor them for signs of disease or of anaemia (thin blood) as well as mental disorders. If you have cause to believe that another kindred is feeding from your herd then a simple rebuke should be sufficient. Expect other kindred to respect your herd and show the same consideration yourself. Poaching a vessel from another cainite is an easy way to escalate a private argument into a full civil war with many clan members involved which can only lose you status. Do not let it happen.

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Tremere & The World

Societies

The Mundane
The one reliable means of maintaining temporal power. They are tools in our hands, the flesh of our spirit. We are their keepers and their lords. Treat them as you would treat prize live- stock.

The Arcanum
Generally harmless, if fed the proper information, they always perform as we would wish them to perform. They have sources of information not available to us which, with their cooperation, could be of value to us. Rumours that they have a deep mysterious knowledge we fear are not true, and we will deal with those who spread such lies!

The Inquisition
Dangerous fanatics who fear knowledge and achievement. Their methods are sometimes effective, but they are far too crude and obvious to pose us any serious threat. Lead them astray with false rituals and minor rewards.

The Camarilla
A blessing bestowed upon the Kindred by the wisest among us. Within the Masquerade, we can all achieve our own ends and live in peace.

The Inconnu
A shadowy group of Kindred who pose behind the falsehood of a spiritual quest in order to disguise age-old schemes of dominance. Trust not their words of their deeds. They would destroy us if they had the means.

The Sabbat
We have always stood against them. They would destroy the the rest of the Kindred, overthrowing the Masquerade in their mad quest for irresponsible dominance. Listen to their enticements, but report them immediately to your superior.

The Clans

Assamites
Followers of a code, and trustworthy to that degree, al- though they are blind to other possibilities and impossible to deter from a set course. Handle only with caution; they are quick to anger and difficult to appease. They have special reasons to hate us and are more likely to take contracts against us then work for us.

Brujah
Rebellion is the manifestation of the spirit of change, but all change leads back to the beginning. Provide them with challenges to test their prowess and other pointless tasks in order to keep them busy. They are easily neutralized.

Followers of Set
A dark sect based on the faulty premises of a forgotten religion. No matter how much they claim otherwise, they have not infiltrated us and made the entire clan their pawns. The reverse is closer to the truth.

Gangrel
Admire their independent strength, but never trust their motives. They stand for disorder al all that we are against. Promise them anything, but give them nothing.

Giovanni
Potentially our worst enemy. All Tremere should devote themselves to the eventual elimination of these degenerate and incestuous creatures. The Giovanni and their undead magic's constitute a veritable crime against nature and the Camarilla.

Malkavian
At times entertaining, but generally disruptive. Reverse psychology is most effective with members of this clan, but they are quick to reverse their own. Be on guard against the pitfalls of indiscriminately applied logic, and beware the feint within a feint within a feint.

Nosferatu
Do not allow appearances to deceive. These deep thinkers harbour knowledge that may be of use to us, or may be used against us. Rewarded properly, they make good agents.

Ravnos
Although independent and unpredictable, as groups or individuals they are easily manipulated. Allow them the freedom to choose to do what you want them to do. The more powerful ones seem to take a special pleasure in annoying us, but even they are but gnats around a tiger.

Salubri
Destroy any you encounter.

Toreador
Flattery and respect is all that is needed to please the Toreador. Compliment all of them, and leave them to argue about who was complimented the most.

Ventrue
The Ventrue are in favour of order, as we ourselves are. They desire control so give it to them, but reserve the real power for ourselves.

Others

Princes

Those who strive to gain the good graces of a prince are accustomed to come before one bearing such things as he holds most precious, or in those things which bring him the most delight. Honour and obey them, for they rule where we do not.

Anarchs
Those misguided ones who seek to tear down the only existence this world offers them. Convert those who would listen to the voice of reason, and slay those who refuse.

Faeries
Keep a safe distance from such creatures, and never trust them. They are of use to us, but extremely unpredictable.

Ghosts
Easily manipulated, if properly handled. Those known as wraiths are considered the most dangerous and intractable; approach them with caution.

Lupines
The true manifestation pf the Beast in all its horror. They are committed to our destruction. They must be eliminated as the body eliminates the disease. Disregard their conceit that they under- stand the spirit realm better than we do.

Magi
Descendants of the ancient and now disbanded Order of Hermes Given the chance to join and stand with us, they chose expulsion. They are untrustworthy, and many stand firmly against us. Some might be of value, if recruited into our ranks.

The Blood Bond
Although a useful tool for building unity within the other Kindred clans, it is expressly forbidden among ourselves. We are to demonstrate our superiority by showing united allegiance to an ideal, rather than being physically and emotionally bound to one another by ties of blood.

Golconda
A fabrication of the sinister Inconnu, and nothing more.

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The Tremere Character

When little Tremere are made, they are forced to drink the combined blood of their elders, creating a sort of clan-wide blood bond if it's done three times. At the same time, they are taking an oath, a long and important one which dated way back. It is this Oath which should at least enter into decisions as to questionable activities. A copy is attached to this document as Appendix I. Read it, this will be on the test.

Being a Tremere is a bit like being in an examination 24 hours a day, everyday, forever. It's not that bad, and it sometimes actually saves you. For example, other Tremere have an obligation to save your butt from trouble if they can because they too are being examined, and hostility within the Clan is not tolerated. You're not expected to like each other, but you better be professional about it. Personal differences ar resolved in a variety of ways, but they usually are either frontal, and all Clan position is lain aside to deal with it, or it is subtle and within the Clan anyway. The latter is more common.

Now, with regard to oaths made to other authorities, including the Camarilla. Remember that duty to clan comes first, all others second. This means that if your other oaths come in conflict with the Tremere oath, or your duty to the Clan, you are expected to break the other oath.

The same goes for laws. If the Clan orders you to break a tradition of the Camarilla, guess what? You do it. And, if your standing is good, they will save you from any possible problems you have as a result of that, though as in any large conspiracy you should cover your proverbial ass.

Knowledge is the key to avoiding the loss of your precious status.

As such, it is the most important commodity in the Tremere motivation. There are all sorts of knowledge, magical or mundane. All are important and worth guarding jealously.

Control your pool of valuable knowledge know by saying nothing. Information is a commodity, and a plethora of ignorance is what makes it valuable. Ignorance festers by itself; it rarely needs a push to get started. Equally important is knowing when to disclose things to your Clansmen, as not doing so is often a major offence when it is warranted. Occasionally, it is even in your own best interest. For example, knowing that the Lupines are planning a strike on the Prince is a neat piece of information, but if the Prince is a Tremere, or is important to the Regent's position in the city, you may get screwed if you don't squeal.
 

Discretion is everything.
 

Tremere are loyal to an authority many of them will never remember seeing, and many more hope they never do. Their hierarchy is second to none. No detail escapes their notice at some level. So when dealing with the Tremere above you, never lie. Just don't do it. You can seldom gain from it, and will always lose big if caught. When dealing with Tremere below you, never let them see you sweat.

Imagine the worst racist you've ever met, not the frothing ones, but the cold, calculated ones that almost make it sound like the great idea. THAT is how Tremere look at all other Clans, Camarilla or otherwise. Clan first, others second. And your Clan should be respected and/or feared by others. Within the Clan, action should be monolithic; this is not, however, to say that Tremere do not encourage free thought. Without it, all the other things are moot points.

The important of unity and loyalty cannot be overstated, though this is not to say personal agendas aren't important. Putting yourself in a position where you are subservient to a member of another Clan is heartily frowned upon, if not disallowed. It jeopardizes your ability to serve the Clan, right? Now, being a spy for the Clan in such a capacity, well, that's a different story...

Remember that status is pretty much conserved in any game, and that in Clan Tremere, your status came from someone else. It was theirs first. They probably want it back. You probably want more.

What you need to consider when creating a Tremere character:

Tremere characters are perhaps more restricted in their nature than those of any other clan, so you should think carefully about whether the character you have in mind could actually be a Tremere. The reason for this is simple - the Tremere, more than any other clan, are extremely selective about who they embrace, and extremely ruthless about weeding out inappropriate Childer. In the Tremere a Childe reflects on their Sire - a Sire will not tolerate a Childe who is an embarrassment.

Thus, a Tremere character must, realistically, have the following characteristics:

  • The ability to deal with authority - if you create a character that can't stand authority, refuses to take orders, and rebels against his superiors, they will be killed in the Prelude! This is just a fact - the Tremere *will not* tolerate insubordination in their Childer. Either you are prepared to work as part of the Clan, or you are killed. Please bear this in mind when creating a character!
  • A realistic level of competence. Tremere take failure badly. You will need to create, and play, a character that is reasonably competent at dealing with the world as a whole. If you were the kind of character who failed repeatedly, you would have been killed.
  • The ability to keep secrets. The Tremere are extremely secretive, and guard their understanding of the occult world jealously. If a Tremere had no ability to retain this secret knowledge, they would not survive for long.
  • A willingness to 'fit in'. Tremere strive to present a united front to the world at large, whatever is going on behind the scenes. A Tremere who wasn't able to do this would suffer badly, and possibly be destroyed.

There is still quite a wide selection of types of Tremere character possible, but please bear in mind the Clan protects itself, its image, and its interests ruthlessly. Secrets will usually be discovered, and inappropriate or incompetent individuals weeded out. When you have an idea for a character, please check to see whether it would have been destroyed in the past.

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